The NHL has a big presence in California with the LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks all being located in the state. These are all competitive teams with big fan bases, which results in NHL betting being very popular in California.
On this page I will recommend our top rated betting site for California residents, look at the legalities of betting online within the state, give examples of the three popular bets you can make on NHL games and provide a simple 3 step guide you can follow to get your NHL bets placed online.
Best Betting Site for California Residents
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Bovada is our #1 rated betting site for California residents looking to bet on the NHL. Bovada burst onto the scene in 2012 and quickly became the most popular online betting site for Americans. They have proven to be a safe, secure and trusted sportsbook that is focused on providing a great betting experience to USA (including California) residents.
Bovada offers fair odds on every NHL game including around 25 prop betting options for each game.
Sports Betting in California
It is not currently legal to operate a sportsbook in California.
That said, there’s no law against California residents signing up and placing bets with an offshore betting site that is regulated and licensed outside of the USA. Bovada is licensed and regulated in Antigua, which allows them to accept players from California and the majority of other states.
Check out our California section for a more in depth look at the betting climate in the state.
NHL Betting Options
There are three popular NHL bets that are featured for every game. These are the money line (winner), puck line (spread) and over/under (totals).
Money Line (Winner)
Betting on which team will win is by far the most popular bet on NHL games. The oddsmakers sets odds based on each teams expected chance of winning the game. Betting on the favorite will return less winnings than betting on the underdog for the same risk.
Here’s an example from an Oilers vs Sharks game from last season. The Sharks are big favorites at home in this example. The -205 indicates that you would have to risk $205 to win $100 betting on the Sharks. The +170 indicates that you would win $170 from a bet of $100 on the Oilers.
Check out our sports betting odds page if you don’t understand the American Odds format.
Puck Line (Spread)
In the NHL the puck line will always refer to a 1.5 goal spread, meaning the favorites have to win by 2 or more to be the winning side of the bet, while the underdogs have to either win the game or lose by 1 to be the winning side.
Unlike the NBA or NFL where a bet on either side of the spread will generally payout an equal amount, the NHL puck line bets still rely heavily on betting odds. This is because goals are hard to come by in the NHL, so it’s impossible to find a spread to even the playing field.
Continuing with the Oilers vs Sharks game example, let’s look at the puck line. A $100 bet on the Sharks to win by 2 or more would win $130. On the flip side, a puck line bet on the Oilers to either win the game or lose by 1, requires a bet of $155 to win $100.
The over/under bet involves wagering on the total number of goals to be scored by both teams in the game. In the NHL the totals are generally set at 5, 5.5 or 6 and you can bet on whether you think there will be more (over) or fewer (under) goals scored in the game.
The over/under for the Oilers vs Sharks game is set at 6. If 7 or more goals are scored by both teams the over bets are winners, if 5 or fewer goals are scored the under bets win, and if exactly 6 goals are scored then the totals bets are a “push” and the wagers are refunded.
These are the three popular NHL bets that take the vast majority of betting handle on NHL games, but there are also several prop bets you can make on each game at Bovada.
NHL Betting in California – 3 Step Guide
Follow these three steps to get your bets placed on NHL games from California.
Step 1. Open a Bovada.lv Account
Click the above link and click on the red ‘Join Now’ button on the Bovada website to open your account.
Bovada is our top rated betting site for California residents.
Step 2. Deposit
Log into your new account and click on ‘Deposit’ in the top right corner of the screen. Choose one of the deposit methods and follow the instructions to fund your account.
Bovada accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and bitcoin.
Your first deposit will receive a 50% matching bonus up to $250. You will need to opt-in to claim this bonus on the “My Rewards” page of your Bovada account.
Step 3. Bet On The NHL
Click the ‘Sports’ link from the top navigation bar on the Bovada website and select ‘NHL’ from the Quick Links in the left sidebar.
Select the NHL bet you want to make and enter your risk amount in the Bet Slip on the right sidebar. When you are satisfied with the risk and potential win amounts, click ‘Place Bets’ to lock in your wager.
Are you ready to bet? Click here to visit Bovada.lv.